Luke 7

seventh chapter of the Gospel of Luke

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Luke 7
Papyrus 3 (GA) Luc 7,36.37.jpg
Luke 7:36,37 on Papyrus 3, written about 6th/7th century.
BookGospel of Luke
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part3

Luke 7 is the seventh chapter of the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It tells the records of two great miracles performed by Jesus, his reply to John the Baptist's question, and the anointing by a sinful woman.[1] The book containing this chapter is anonymous, but early Christian tradition uniformly affirmed that Luke composed this Gospel as well as the Acts of the Apostles.[2]


Luke 7:36-45 in Papyrus 3 (6th/7th century)

The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 50 verses.

Textual witnesses

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:

Healing the centurion's servant

Luke 7:1-10 relates that a Roman centurion in Capernaum sent the Jewish elders to ask Jesus for help because his servant (or slave) was ill.[4] The elders testified to the centurion's worthiness (ἄξιός, axios) but the centurion did not consider himself worthy (using the same Greek word, ηξιωσα, ēxiōsa)[5] to have Jesus come into his home to perform the healing, suggesting instead that Jesus perform the healing at a distance. Jesus concurred, and the servant was found to have been healed when the centurion returned home.

A similar event is recounted in John 4:46–53 but this may refer to another event as it concerns the son of a court official.

Widow of Nain's Son Raised

View of Nain (modern: Nein) from entrance to the village (2007).

This account of a miracle by Jesus is only recorded in the Gospel of Luke. Jesus arrived at the village of Nain during the burial ceremony of the son of a widow, and raised the young man from the dead. The location is the village of Nain in Galilee, two miles south of Mount Tabor. This is the first of three miracles of Jesus in the canonical gospels in which he raises the dead, the other two being the raising of Jairus' daughter and of Lazarus. Following the healing, Jesus fame spread "throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region".[6] In the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, commentator F. W. Farrar explains that "the notion that St Luke therefore supposed Nain to be in Judaea is quite groundless. He means that the story of the incident at Nain spread even into Judaea".[7]

Messengers from John the Baptist

The Meal at the House of Simon the Pharisee, c. 15th century

When John the Baptist was in prison and heard of the works performed by Jesus, John sent two of his disciples as messengers to ask a question of Jesus:

“Are you the one who is to come (ὁ ἐρχόμενος, ho erchomenos), or should we expect someone else?”[8]

Following this episode, Jesus begins to speak to the crowds about John the Baptist, describing him as the 'messenger' foretold in prophecy (Malachi 3:1).

Parable of the Two Debtors

Illustration of "A disciple washes Christ's feet" (Luke 7:38) with the text on the bottom from Song of Solomon 1:12 in Latin (English: "While the king was at his repose, my spikenard sent forth the odour thereof.")
Anointing of Jesus, 17th-century altar painting, Ballum, Denmark.

A Pharisee named Simon invites Jesus to eat in his house but fails to show him the usual marks of hospitality offered to visitors - a greeting kiss (v. 45), water to wash his feet (v. 44), or oil for his head (v. 46). A "sinful woman" comes into his house during the meal and anoints Jesus' feet with perfume, wiping them dry with her hair. Simon is inwardly critical of Jesus, who, if he were a prophet, "would know what kind of sinful life she lives".[9]

Jesus then uses the story of two debtors to explain that a woman loves him more than his host, because she has been forgiven of greater sins.

Verse 38

And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.[10]
  • "Stood at his feet behind him": Jesus, as other guests, 'reclined on couches with their feet turned outwards', a common posture in that period of time also for Persians, Greeks, Romans.[11] This arrangement is called triclinia, by which the guest reposed on his elbow at the table, with his unsandaled feet outstretched on the couch (as each guest left the sandals beside the door on entering).[12]
  • "Ointment": or "fragrant oil" in NKJV, is translated from the Greek word μύρον which was applied 'for any kind of sweet-smelling vegetable essence, especially that of the myrtle'.[13]

Verses 47-48

"Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”[14]

Eric Franklin observes that the woman is demonstrating her love and asks whether this is "because she has already been forgiven, which is what the parable would imply?" Verse 47, "on a first reading at any rate, does not appear to support this, but rather suggests that she has been forgiven because of her love". The Revised Standard Version and the New King James Version can be read in this way. Franklin notes that "more recent translations, assuming a consistency in the story as a whole, take the Greek ὅτι (hoti, translated as "for" in the quoted passage above) to mean, not "because" but "with the result that", for example the Revised English Bible translates, "Her great love proves that her many sins have been forgiven". Verse 48 then proclaims her forgiveness, which this translation assumes has already been pronounced to her.[15]

See also


  1. ^ Halley, Henry H. Halley's Bible Handbook: an Abbreviated Bible Commentary. 23rd edition. Zondervan Publishing House. 1962.
  2. ^ Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  3. ^ a b Aland, Kurt; Aland, Barbara (1995). The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism. Erroll F. Rhodes (trans.). Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-8028-4098-1.
  4. ^ Translated as 'slave' in the RSV and the Holman Christian Standard Bible
  5. ^ Strong's Concordance: 515 axioó: to deem worthy
  6. ^ Luke 7:17
  7. ^ Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on Luke 7, accessed 6 June 2018
  8. ^ Luke 7:19, repeated in 7:20
  9. ^ Luke 7:39: Good News Translation
  10. ^ Luke 7:38 KJV
  11. ^ Expositor's Greek Testament. Luke 7. Accessed 24 April 2019.
  12. ^ Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges. Luke 7. Accessed 28 April 2019.
  13. ^ Exell, Joseph S.; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice (Editors). On "Luke 7" in The Pulpit Commentary. 23 volumes. First publication: 1890. Accessed 24 April 2019.
  14. ^ Luke 7:47–48: Revised Standard Version
  15. ^ Franklin, E., Luke in Barton, J. and Muddiman, J. (2001), The Oxford Bible Commentary, p. 936

External links

Preceded by
Luke 6
Chapters of the Bible
Gospel of Luke
Succeeded by
Luke 8
Original content from Wikipedia, shared with licence Creative Commons By-Sa - Luke 7